Men’s tennis falls to Pioneers, bounce back for the Lutes

Sara Levering, Sports editor

The Linfield Wildcats were back in action in rainy McMinnville and hosted the Lewis and Clark Pioneers. It turned out to be a tough day for the ‘Cats, falling to the unbeaten Pioneers 1-8. Number one doubles pair Tyler Linscott, ‘17, and Ben McNair, ‘18, winning the lone point.

Two doubles played by Jose Luis Rojas, ‘20, and John Lutaaya, ‘20, played tough but fell 8-5. Third doubles played by duo Nathan Saragoza, ‘19, and Trent Prussing, ‘19, fell 8-1.

When singles play started, things were not looking up for the Wildcats as Lewis and Clark proceeded to sweep all six singles players. Linscott at one singles 6-3, 6-1. Rojas at two singles lost 6-2, 6-2. McNair at three singles lost 6-3, 6-2. Prussing at four singles lost 6-0, 6-3. Saragoza lost 6-1, 6-3 and Charlie Farrenkopf, ‘17, at six singles fought hard in the first set but ended up losing in straight sets 7-5, 6-3.

“Against Lewis and Clark, we played a great doubles match at the no. one position, defeating one of the top doubles teams in the conference in a close tiebreaker. Tyler and Ben were fearless taking control of the net and being the aggressors,” said assistant coach Brent Kingzett.

On Sunday, they bounced back in action in Tacoma, against Pacific Lutheran, silencing them 9-0. The ‘Cats captured all doubles matches, putting them up 3-0.

Linscott and McNair teamed up once again winning decisively 8-3. Lutaaya and Rojas fought a tough set, but came out on top 8-6. And third doubles consisting of Prussing and Jacob Mangan, ‘19, came out on top as well defeating PLU’s third doubles 8-3.

Singles was just as successful for the Wildcats as doubles was. Linscott went a stunning three set match winning 6-1, 1-6, 6-1. Rojas won decisively in straight sets 6-1, 6-1. McNair fought and won in straight sets 6-4, 6-4. Prussing beat his opponent at four singles 6-0, 6-2. Saragoza won decisively 6-0, 6-3, and lastly, Lutaaya won 7-5, 6-2 to seal the Wildcats comeback.

“Unfortunately, our singles didn’t look as sharp as we want, which will remain an area of focus going forward. However, our singles bounced back big time the next day in our match against PLU, where each of our players closed out their wins in strong fashion and feeling good about their day’s performance. A strong sign indeed that while our singles needs work, is headed in the right direction,” concluded Kingzett.

The Linfield Wildcats are 2-4 overall and 2-2 in the Northwest Conference. Next up, The ‘Cats travel to Portland on Saturday to face Lewis and Clark at 11 a.m. and Sunday against Pacific in Forest Grove also at 11 a.m.